TR - Italy, Summer 2023

Old Dec 22nd, 2023, 09:49 AM
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TR - Italy, Summer 2023

Hello all - Since I can’t stop thinking about Italy, I thought I may as well give a TR from my Summer ‘23 visit a shot. It was such a fantastic time that I’m already scheduled to return in July ‘24! Ok. Let’s go to Italy!

Some background information first - I live in upstate New York which means I have access to airports in Hartford, CT, NYC, Boston, Newburgh and even Montreal. For this particular trip (maybe my 30th trip to Europe and my 5th to Italy) I found my best deal to be an Aer Lingus flight from JFK via Dublin to Naples. I’d be spending nearly 4 weeks in Italy - 2 weeks solo and 2 weeks with my fella.

From my balcony

Having visited Naples a couple of times previously, I decided to indulge myself with a “settling in” day/night at Orsini 46, a B&B close to the water in an area which feels familiar to me, instead of immediately catching a train to Rome. This was my third stay at this small (3 rooms), family run B&B, and I had my usual room which features a small balcony with a Bay of Naples view, an excellent and beautiful tiled shower and a fantastic breakfast.

This was my first time flying into Naples and man, was it hot when I arrived! Traveling with only carry-on luggage made my transit via bus from the airport to Centrale Station/Garibaldi less onerous, but I can’t lie. I was a bit overwhelmed by the crowded bus and temperatures well into the 90s. As the stubborn, middle aged woman I am, I walked the 3+ km to my destination. After hours in a plane (and a train prior to that), I just wanted to be outside.

Once settled in and showered, I began wandering around Naples, invigorated by the sights and smells of a city that I find to be stimulating and fairly diverse. I understand why so many people describe it as gritty, but just like Athens, I find it comfortable and appealing. I walked through Piazza del Plebiscito, pausing for a refreshing gelato as I sussed out where I might want to have dinner later. After a couple of hours, I returned to accommodations, took a cool shower and allowed myself a brief nap.


Dinner, at Osteria il Gobetto, was excellent. There was a bit of a wait to be seated, but I scored a chair outside of the restaurant and was poured a glass of crisp white wine as a consolation. Once inside, I ordered a plate of anchovies, followed by a caprese salad and pasta with clams. Everything was excellent and reasonably priced. The service was also lovely.


After a good night’s rest and breakfast, I packed up my luggage (leaving it behind for a few hours) and ventured out to locate the AirBnB where my sweetie and I would be staying at the end of our trip. It took me a little time to locate it, as it was in an area which I wasn’t familiar with, but I was happy to explore a new to me part of Naples. After locating the property, I rewarded myself with a snack of a gorgeously prepared zucchini blossom. And a spritz! Naples has excellent street food.
Later in the afternoon, I retrieved my luggage and caught a fast train to Rome, where I would be spending the night at a friend’s home. I generally don’t do single night stays, but I opted to break up the journey to Liguria, where I would be spending 4 nights. So, while it may seem as if I was traveling fast, I was in fact taking my time along the way.

Next: Rome and then onward to Liguria.

Last edited by nylilly; Dec 22nd, 2023 at 09:49 AM. Reason: typo
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Old Dec 22nd, 2023, 12:40 PM
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nylilly, I am on board!!! You are off to a great start!

What is your itinerary? Places you visited and how many nights? My husband and I spent a week in Rome and a day in Florence in the 70's and we definitely want to return to Italy within the next couple of years and travel around for about 6 weeks. So I'm curious as to where you've been and your opinions. Any favorites? Is it difficult traveling by train? We've traveled by train in Spain, Prague, Poland, and from Zagreb to Ljubljana. Is traveling by train in Italy easier and less stressful than renting a car? My husband usually drives in foreign countries but I wonder if trying to park in small villages and cities is difficult. The only problem I find with trains is having to handle our own luggage. We are not young any more!

Anyways, looking forward to more!

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Old Dec 22nd, 2023, 01:00 PM
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Great start. Looking forward to more, nylilly!
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Old Dec 22nd, 2023, 02:57 PM
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Love Ital so looking forward to reading more. What is your itinerary?
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Old Dec 22nd, 2023, 03:24 PM
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Looking forward to more!

I stayed very near your Naples B & B this past May (at Hotel Rex). On a previous visit, we stayed at Hotel Piazza Bellini, which we loved, but I told myself in the future when I'm in Naples during the warm months, I will stay closer to the water, which at least gives the impression of a breeze.
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Old Dec 23rd, 2023, 06:14 AM
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Thanks for the encouragement! The trip was a total of 26 nights for me. I traveled in a loop - Naples (1 night) - Rome (1 night) - San Terenzo, Liguria (4 nights) - Lucca (3 nights) - Florence (7 nights) - Rome (3 nights) - Ischia (4 nights) - Naples (3 nights). All transit was either train, bus or ferry. I've driven in Italy before, but much prefer wine at lunch and a window view on public transportation. I travel very light with the expectation that I'll have to do laundry along the way. I booked the long train trips in advance for the best prices and options. Accommodations were, beyond a friend's home in Rome, all Airbandbs, a platform I have some issues with in terms of available housing for residents, but I intentionally seek out hosts who live on the property or who have been hosting for many years. As far as favorite places in Italy...I love it all, even the Cinque Terre which I will never again visit in summer because of the crowds. On this particular trip, Naples continued to charm, Ischia was an unexpected delight and Florence earned a special place in my heart. There's still so much of Italy that I have yet to experience - Venice, Sicily, AC, Milan...Summer '24 takes me to Puglia and Matera for 2 weeks followed by 10 days split between Naples/Rome/Ovietto and Florence.

Last edited by nylilly; Dec 23rd, 2023 at 06:38 AM.
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Old Dec 23rd, 2023, 06:21 AM
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Sounds like a great trip. I was in Cinque Terre in May and it was crazy busy. We stayed in Corniglia and it wasn't crowded like the rest of the area. Actually quiet in the late afternoon and into the evening as well as in the am. Puglia is wonderful and Matera is fascinating. I did a TR on them when I was there 10 years or so ago. We even stayed at Orsini 46 way back then. Glad to see they are still around.

I love Italy and we will be making our 11th trip in the fall. Looking forward to reading more.
Venturing into Southern Italy – A Short TR

Last edited by yestravel; Dec 23rd, 2023 at 06:23 AM.
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Old Dec 23rd, 2023, 07:06 AM
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Part 2 - Rome and Liguria

My time in Rome was brief on my way north. I was still getting my legs under me from the journey and simply wanted a familiar place to unload some of my belongings (things I wouldn't need until later in the trip like excess toiletries, etc), visit Mercato Testaccio and enjoy a good dinner. I had zero agenda beyond that.

in Rome, I stay in the Ostiense neighborhood. It's well connected to transit and, for me, very walkable. I'm inclined to walk 20,000+ steps in a typical day while on vacation. The weather was very hot, but I just missed the record temperatures of 105+. Fortunately, Rome has wonderful nasone, or drinking fountains, scattered around the city from which I availed myself. I also brought along packets of LiquidIV, a powder of electrolytes which I added to my water bottle to prevent dehydration.


Cacio e Pepe

Panne Cotta with tasty strawberries

The bounty at Mercato Testaccio


Water is cold and delicious!

My first "real" destination of the trip was San Terenzo in Liguria. It's a small town directly on the water and is within walking distance (2 km) of Lerici, a town I had briefly visited in 2010. I chose it for access to the Cinque Terre as well as for the slightly off the beaten track location. My accommodations were lovely! I stayed in a private home a short walk from the water, hosted by a couple who spoke little English (I speak little Italian, although I began picking it up as my trip continued), yet made me feel very welcome.

My host's caper berries

My home in San Terenzo

Resident kitty

The view from my tower room

San Terenzo alley

An afternoon pick me up

Tellaro swimming spot

Frito Misto!

Encountered on my walk

My days in San Terenzo involved lots of walking, lazy napping, cooling swims and delicious fresh seafood meals.

I had purchased a two day trails/trains pass for the Cinque Terre. To get to the villages, I took a boat from Lerici, however the seas were very rough that day and we were unable to dock at all of the villages. I was able to disembark in Monterosso, which turned out to be elbow to elbow in tourists, many of them American. It was again, quite hot out and the idea of hiking did not appeal to me at all. I found a slip of beach for a sun nap and committed to a return visit some year in October or early May. The congestion on the train between villages was intense and I quickly decided that I would be not using the second day of my pass.




Perfect lunch frittata



Next stop: Lucca!
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Old Dec 23rd, 2023, 07:07 AM
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Can't wait to read your TR, yestravel! Orsini is definitely my go to place. I love having familiar places in foreign destinations and will be staying with them again in July.
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Old Dec 23rd, 2023, 01:08 PM
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What little I’ve seen of Italy, I have loved! Looking forward to more of your report.
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Old Dec 23rd, 2023, 01:39 PM
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Great so far and looking forward to more! Italy is my favorite place. I also live in Upstate NY and I'm also going to Puglia and Rome in June.
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Old Dec 23rd, 2023, 04:20 PM
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Your San Terenzo shots are so inviting. Please keep it coming.
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Old Dec 23rd, 2023, 06:54 PM
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Great pics, enjoying your TR. Ironically, we will be going back to Italy next year and also hope to visit some of the sections of Liguria Coast weve missed previously - Camogli, Portovenere, Lerici, Rapallo etc
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Old Dec 26th, 2023, 06:52 AM
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Great minds think alike, SusanP! We'll be in Puglia in July, followed by Rome/Orvietto/Florence. Have you settled on your itinerary?
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Old Dec 26th, 2023, 07:09 AM
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Happy Boxing Day! Continuing with my Italian travels...

From San Terenzo I caught a bus to La Spezia and the train station. Next stop: Lucca.

In 2010, I had visited Lucca for a brief afternoon and had been charmed by the small walled city. This was my first opportunity to get back to it and I absolutely relished my time alone in this beautiful Tuscan city. My AirBnB was ideally located within walking distance of the train station and within the walls - and very near an excellent gelato spot. The annual music fest was winding down and my arrival (and departure) coincided with concerts making for a festive atmosphere. The weather was significantly cooler than what I had experienced in my previous locations and I loved the freshness of the air.


Dinner in a funky spot. The pictured man was on premise and confirmed that he was the owner and the face of the place!

Lasagna


When your name is Silvia, you don't often see it printed on tableware. When you do, you take a picture.






My time in Lucca was primarily spent walking around, listening to Sinead O'Connor on repeat (her death was announced while I was there) and relaxing. I admire the itineraries I see presented on this site but, for me, vacation is about making my own schedule, absorbing the vibe, eating and drinking local foods and simply being present. I had no agenda whatsoever in Lucca - and it was lovely. The food was very good (with a single exception), the people were friendly and my accommodations were ideal. I would happily return.
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Old Dec 26th, 2023, 01:33 PM
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Lovely photos and trip report. I would love to visit Italy, but I speak absolutely no Italian. Do Italians in the tourist areas generally speak some English?
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Old Dec 26th, 2023, 02:15 PM
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Your spot in San Terenzo looks absolutely lovely and relaxing. I said "never again" to the Cinque Terre a long time ago but have since enjoyed Camogli, Santa Maria Ligure, etc.

Hope you enjoy Puglia and Basilicata next summer. I was there this past May, after five days in Naples, and loved it. Have you decided where you will stay?

Looking forward to your next installment.
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Old Dec 26th, 2023, 02:45 PM
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Originally Posted by nylilly
Great minds think alike, SusanP! We'll be in Puglia in July, followed by Rome/Orvietto/Florence. Have you settled on your itinerary?
I've been to Rome many times, but this will be my first time in Puglia. My itinerary changed a few times around bus/train connections and what I want to see and do, but I think it's set now: Brindisi, Lecce, Polignano a Mare, Bari, Rome.
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Old Dec 26th, 2023, 04:44 PM
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nylilly, I love your photos of Lucca! You really capture the essence of the place. Last May our daughter, son-in-law, and young grandchildren spent 3 weeks in Lucca. With 2 young children, they wanted a very relaxing vacation staying put in one place. They took some daytrips but absolutely enjoyed just hanging out in Lucca. The city walls is what drew them to Lucca. They rented a 4-wheel bike that holds 4 people, with a canopy, and pedaled around in that. They became friendly with the owners of a nearby restaurant they frequented, and the owners gave our grandchildren gifts when they left. Needless to say, they have very fond memories of Lucca.
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Old Dec 26th, 2023, 04:55 PM
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This is a delightful report! I’m so enjoying it! Italy is my husband’s and my favorite country, and have been there several times. Your trip includes a few places that I hope to visit someday soon - Lucca, Ischia - so it’s exciting to see this, too. Italy is, to me, the perfect place for travel - lots of cultural sights when I need stimulation but the perfect place to just chill and enjoy.

Thanks for sharing your travels!
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